Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum
This handbook presents an overview of culturally responsive Alaska Native science curriculum, including vignettes and samples of classroom lessons. The author describes ways in which existing learning models can be modified to include Alaskan Native methods for teaching and learning, with suggestions of how to include Native elders in meaningful ways.
The handbook discusses best practices within inquiry-based teaching and practices that may bridge differences between inquiry and traditional forms of instruction. A variety of culturally relevant materials are either included or listed in a reference section.
The author describes this handbook’s purpose in a somewhat general, but useful, way to “move educational practice from teaching about culture as another discrete subject to teaching through the local culture as a way to bring depth, breadth and significance to all aspects of the curriculum.” While the term “science” is used in the title, the general concept of teaching “through” the local curriculum applies equally well to other subjects. In that sense, this is a multidisciplinary resource.
The author draws from a number of different writers to cover topics ranging from Alaska science performance standards to the effective use of local cultural experts. Unfortunately, each author tends to cover some of the same ground. The publication contains some useful assessment rubrics as well as sample units, lessons, and activities.
Communications quality is generally quite good, although a few apparently scanned pages from another resource are unreadable. Utility should be reasonable high, helping to frame this important topic rather than to explicitly show or tell how teaching should be done. Although focusing on Alaska curriculum and instruction, the handbook should be equally useful to other cultures and environments.
Evidence of effectiveness is lacking and could be improved by better research references or anecdotes that others have found the handbook useful.